Dallas Curow Photography
By Athena Raypold

Elevating the Ordinary

Dallas Curow took her first photo at the age of five. “It was the reflection of a swan swimming on a pond, and I was just blown away that my camera could see what I saw that looked so magical: ‘It looks like there are two swans and it’s floating!’ And I remember getting the pictures back – this was so old that the corners were rounded – and thinking, ‘I saw that, it looked so magical to me and now I can show other people!’” she says. Today, with her company, Dallas Curow Photography, Dallas still strives to capture that enchanting, cinematic quality in her photographs.

Specializing in wedding and portrait photography, Dallas chooses to photograph people. “For me, it’s about showing people a life that’s a little bit elevated, a little bit magical. There’s this haze, or this sense of elevated reality, that I think I can show people,” she says. “And if you photograph a landscape and show it back to the landscape, it doesn’t care. But for the person to say, ‘Wow! I’ve never looked like that before! How does my hair look that good? Wasn’t that in a dirty parking lot? How does it look so sparkly, like we’re in this magical place?’ It’s just that moment of taking something that looks utterly boring and making it look captivating and larger than life. That’s what I live for.”

For me, it’s about showing people a life that’s a little bit elevated, a little bit magical. There’s this haze, or this sense of elevated reality, that I think I can show people. - Dallas Curow, owner and photographer
Dallas Curow Photography only takes on clients she connects with for special events, such as weddings
Photography by Dallas Curow Photography

Closing the Gap

Like an heirloom, photography has been gifted from one person to the next in Dallas’ family, “It’s always been something my mom has used as one of her many love languages,” she says, “photographing our family, giving us all of these memories in photo form, but also by teaching us to shoot.” Dallas vividly remembers being 12 years old and going with her mom to the photo lab. “We would sit together on a bench, going through the photos and she would tell me, ‘That’s a good one. That’s the best one. Toss that one. She’s not going to like that one.’ [She would] suggest other angles and what to look for, so by the end of a roll of 24, I’d have five to 10 best photos. And she was never harsh, she always gave really honest feedback and I learned from her.” Dallas’ mother impressed upon her the value and joy of trying. Dallas isn’t discouraged by mistakes or failures; she is invigorated by them. They propel her and compel her to be better, to try harder and to practice more.

In addition to running Dallas Curow Photography, Dallas perpetually pursues what she calls personal projects. “I’ve been bridging the gap between being totally service oriented and being art oriented,” she says. “Doing personal projects is closing that gap. Ira Glass says there’s that difficulty of having good enough taste to know good work when you look at it, but your skills haven't caught up with your taste. This creates a gap that is very frustrating to creative people. Closing that gap is the ultimate goal. Doing personal projects and practicing, practicing, practicing, and showing what I can do helps.”

Dallas Curow Photography captures unique and special moments at weddings, in addition to doing portraits
Photography by Dallas Curow Photography
Dallas Curow Photography captures big moments on special days, like weddings, and creates gorgeous, high quality images
Photography by Dallas Curow Photography

Quality of Work, Quality of Connection

Although photography has been Dallas’ constant companion, for a time, she pursued academia and earned a master’s degree in media studies. Unsurprisingly, her love for art and media colours her photographic style. “My goal is for my photos to look like movie stills,” she says. And, while other photographers inspire Dallas, her true muse is film. “My biggest influences are my favourite film directors, like Baz Luhrmann. All of his movies are so rich in colour and movement. [I’m inspired] by Hitchcock and classic film and theatre, as well as Park Chan-wook, a director whose films are so sumptuous it’s incredible.”

As a photographer, Dallas’ strength lies in her vision and her direction, of both scenes and subjects. “If there’s a candy wrapper or a pop can that’s ruining an otherwise perfect shot, I’m moving it. I value that my clients put their trust in me to manipulate things just slightly, or tell them, ‘Just move an inch to the right, the light’s so much more magical if you move an inch into the sun.’ I like taking control and directing, kind of streamlining the chaos.” But Dallas isn’t just all art; she’s also all heart.

Deeply empathetic, Dallas is more concerned with the quality of her connection with clients than in taking on every client. “Weddings are way too personal to not be the perfect fit for each other,” she says. “You’re up in there while they’re naked, getting dressed; you’re there while they’re making out; you’re there while their parents are holding their hands and losing it emotionally; you’re there on maybe one of the last days they see their grandparents, so you have to feel connected to them and care about them or you’re doing them a disservice.”

Dallas Curow Photography does portraits, in addition to wedding photography
Photography by Dallas Curow Photography
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